This is probably one of the most important things you can do with your computer.Imagine you have lost the contents of your drive due to a hardware failure. Now imagine how long it took you to put all that data on the drive, all the hours it took you to get the ideas, set up those art files on Quark, Photoshop, how many painstaking months it took for you to build up a database of clients. It has gone. You have to do all that work again and there is no guarantee that you can get it all back again. A backup will allow you to recover most of what you have on the drive.
In fact, you can recover what is on the drive even if it no longer spins. The platters which hold your information are well protected in the drive case. Professional companies that specialise in this can remove the platters and recover the data that is on those platters, but at a cost which can exceed $2000. If it is going to cost you more than that to manually redo all that work, then spending that amount may seem inexpensive to you, especially if you are about to lose a client because you cannot find his files. Enough said.
Backing up simply means you need to get into the habit of doing this regularly, anything from twice a day to twice a week.
Try this inexpensive backup software:
Backup programs can be inexpensive, SuperDuper($35), and Carbon Copy Cloner (as little as $10 donation) are two shareware programs that will do the job well. You can download both of them on trial. They will make a bootable copy of your drive so that you can use it immediately in case of emergency.
If you are running Leopard (Mac OS 10.5.x), you have the advantage of using Time Machine to do your backups without having to spend extra for a backup program.
The first item to procure is an external hard drive, either FireWire or USB2. A 3.5” drive/enclosure will suit desktop computers and a 2.5” for laptops, especially if you are going to move it around a lot. The smaller drive can also be set up with a second partition so you can carry around extra files.
Of course, if this all seems to be confusing to you, call me and I will come by and organize it for you.